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Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival: While the stage is lit

Suchitra Krishnamurthy and Shekar Suman in ‘Ek Haan’

Suchitra Krishnamurthy and Shekar Suman in ‘Ek Haan’  

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Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival in the city brings productions with nuanced views on relationships

It’s raining theatre in the city as the Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival returns for its 14th edition in Hyderabad. The festival that is on till November 24, brings a host of eight plays, two puppetry shows and three workshops where classical and contemporary converge, countries and regions unite. The theme of the fest this year is on relationships.

Apart from the opening play My Father – His Exalted Highness that dealt with the emotions of a father and daughter, Ek Haan (with Suchitra Krishnamurthy and Shekhar Suman) is about a fictitious acquaintance between Manto and a journalist, Nadira Babbar’s Footnotes of Life - Haashiye Zindagi Ke is about myriad relationships in life, Miss Sekhsaria and The Odd Couple look at comical friendships, Atmaj deals with a woman and her daughter finding self-empowerment and Hello Zindagi is about strong female friendships.

International productions

The festival will have the debut of an Argentinian play, 74 Days of Autumn, that deals with war and consequences it has on different relationships. “This year, veteran Argentinian actress Anahi Martella brings her solo performance with the play written by Laura Garaglia. The play has four different perspectives — a soldier, the little sister of another soldier, a teacher and others — of the same war, which could be any war in any part of the world. Anahi who presented her work around the world, comes to India for the first time.

New York-based actor-director Jeff Goldberg presents The Odd Couple.

On the sidelines

On the Festival Finge are two Telugu shadow leather puppet theatre productions — Sundarakanda performed by Dalavai Kullayaapa and group, and Mahabharata performed by Nummalakunta Tholu Bommalata group. The fest also features Master Classes on ‘Acting and Direction’ by Nadira Babbar, ‘Processes of Puppet Theatre’ by Dalavai Kullayaapa, and ‘Theatre, Television and Film’ by Raman Kumar.

Other actors participating in the fest include Utkarsh Mazumdar, Vibha Chibber, Minissha Lamba, Delnaz Irani, Guddi Maruti, Kishwer Merchant and and directors Vikash Khurana and Usha Ganguli.

Grand start

Earlier, the festival began with the premier of a heritage production My Father – His Exalted Highness written by Noor Baig and directed by Mohammad Ali Baig. The cast had Mohan Agashe in the titular role, Noor as Shehzadi Pasha and Mohammad Ali Baig as Raja Ram, the Nizam’s loyal aide. Director Baig shares,“I am excited to have begun with a home production. We researched and worked on it for nearly a year” The play draws light on human and vulnerable aspects of a ruler — the VII Nizam of Hyderabad — who considered himself utterly responsible for his people and at the same time, was not always a perfect loving parent.

Set between 1937 and 1967, the play sought to explore key turning points in the Nizam’s reign and beyond and dispel misconceptions about him, in contrast to the reality of his contribution in the shaping of Hyderabad and institutions like Shantiniketan, Benares Hindu University, as well as five tons of gold to the National Defence Fund.

Noor Baig says, “Little is known about Shehzadi Pasha, who took care of the Nizam and never married. She is a witness to the inner workings of a monarch at the cusp of losing his kingdom and how he copes. What really struck us is the way the Nizam adapted and thrived even under trying circumstances.”

(Bookings for the festival at venues across the city are available on www.bookmyshow.com)

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:41:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/qadir-ali-baig-theatre-festival-while-the-stage-is-lit/article30026458.ece

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